Doesn’t it seem that life runs more smoothly when there’s no dishes in the sink and everything is clean? You rely on your dishwasher for that (I know, I do!), and there’s nothing more frustrating than when the dishes don’t come out clean. Let’s prevent that.

 

Those of you who are my longtime readers know about the loving relationship I have with my dishwashers. Many of you were there, four years ago, when my two-drawer dishwasher (which barely fit a pot) broke (Yay!), paving the installation for two new full-sized dishwashers (we removed drawers to fit the second dishwasher).

Especially in my line of work, even though it sounds odd, having two dishwashers was one of my life-changing moments.

Dishwashers can truly be your best friend…but it can be very frustrating when you rely on them and they’re not working properly.

So, when Joe from Mr. Appliance was repairing my dishwasher, I asked him for top tips for keeping your dishwasher cleaning well and working properly.

1 – Sauces, not Solids.

You don’t need to  rinse dishes before adding them to the dishwasher, but you do need to scrape all solids. Unlike an in-sink disposal, dishwashers can’t handle solids and eventually, the solid will clog the dishwasher and cause it to break down.

 

2 – Tablets, not Liquid

It doesn’t matter the brand, but detergent tablets are the recommended item to use in your dishwasher because they dispense just the right amount of detergent, not too much and not too little. We know why we don’t want too little soap, but too much soap can also be detrimental to both your dishes and your dishwasher.

 

3 – Add a Rinse Aid

Because today’s appliances are energy efficient, they often don’t do a good job of drying dishes. A rinse aid will help get the dishes perfectly dry, though Joe warns, plastics, such as baby bottles, will never be perfectly dry when the run is complete.

 

4 – Use Sani-Rinse Sometimes

Is someone sick at home? Want to take extra special care with germs? Sani-Rinse uses a higher temperature when washing the dishes (similar, but not the same, as commercial dishwashers).

 

5 – The Vinegar Trick

Once a month, clean your dishwasher by placing a measuring cup with 1 cup vinegar standing up in the top rack of the dishwasher and run a cycle. “Vinegar is the best low cost, no chemical cleaner. By putting the vinegar upright, it’ll release into the dishwasher little by little as the cycle runs.”

 

6 – The Rinse Run

Even though this isn’t relevant for my family because I can definitely fill two dishwashers full of dishes daily, if you have a small family and only have a few dishes to wash, don’t leave them in there dirty until the dishwasher is full. Rather, if your dishwasher has a “rinse only” option, let the machine rinse the dishes so nothing is caked on when it’s time to do the full run.

 

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Victoria Dwek
Victoria holds a B.A. in English Literature from New York University and a M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She’s the editor emeritus of Ami Magazine’s Whisk and is an obsessive cookbook writer (with seven to date). When she’s not writing, she’s busy entertaining her cuties, all aged 11 and under.

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